From the left: beekeeper Risto Niilimäki, K-retailer Satu Kettunen, and Maritta Martikainen from the Finnish Beekeepers' Association, pictured on the rooftop of K-Supermarket Akaa
There has been a drastic drop in the number of pollinators around the world due to factors such as habitat destruction, insecticides, invasive species, and climate change. Pollinator decline has far-reaching impacts as most food we consume is linked to them.
“Pollinator decline is a threat to nature, but also to people. Most cultivated plants rely on insect pollination. It’s great to see our K-retailers joining the biodiversity effort by placing beehives on their store rooftops, for example,” says Matti Kalervo, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at K Group.
Beehives on store roof
Akaa is known as the honey capital of Finland. Local K-Supermarket retailer Satu Kettunen wanted to emphasise that fact, and she had heard that a couple of other K-stores had beehives on their rooftops. Soon Kettunen’s store, which favours local products, will be able to sell its own rooftop honey. If conditions this summer are favourable, there may be as much as 80 kilos of honey.
A livestream organised by the retailer and the City of Akaa has given people the chance to witness hive life.
“I wanted to get bees working and promote Akaa as the honey capital of the country. I think it is great that the bees are taking care of local flowers and berries,” says Kettunen.
“Honey is a healthy delicacy without additives. Bees can remove impurities from nectar and honey, and thus honey produced in urban areas is clean.”
Akaa has had city apiaries for years: there are currently nearly 40 apiaries with some 20 million bees. The non-aggressive Italian bees do not pose a threat to people. The area of pollination covers the whole town, and such systematic beekeeping is apparently unique on a European scale.
“K-Supermarket Akaa is a good example of a company utilising our town’s unique specialty in its own operations,” says Akaa Mayor Antti Peltola.
The beehive livestream is expected to be buzzing as spring progresses. The livestream will also include a scale that shows the weight of the beehive, which will gradually rise as the amount of honey increases. The scale is maintained by the Finnish Beekeepers' Association, which monitors honey flow around the country. The cameras will not interfere with the lives and work of the bees in any way.